Blu-ray reissue: Black Orpheus ****

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on September 4, 2010)

Black Orpheus – Criterion Collection Blu-ray

Marcel Camus directed this mesmerizing 1959 film, a modern spin on a classic Greek myth, fueled by the pulsating rhythms of Rio’s Carnaval and tempered by the gentle sway of Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s gorgeous samba soundtrack. Camus and Jacques Viot adapted the screenplay from the play by Vinicius de Moraes. Handsome tram operator Orfeo (Breno Mello) is engaged to the vivacious Mira (Lourdes de Olivera) but gets hit by the thunderbolt when he meets sweetly innocent Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn). As in most romantic triangles, things are bound to get ugly, especially when Mr. Death (Ademar da Silva) starts lurking about.  A unique film that fully engages the senses (not to mention the fact that Mello and Dawn have got to be the most beautiful screen couple in the history of cinema). Criterion’s Blu-ray is outstanding.

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